In a “news analysis” (read as: “front-page editorial”) titled More than healthcare rides on Obama’s speech, the L.A. Times shows that editors are worried that Obama is losing his grip on power . . . so they’re pulling out all the stops:
The summer left Obama in a weakened position. Once the dominant communicator in American politics, he has seen the healthcare debate sidetracked by false warnings that government “death panels” would be employed to snuff out Grandma. Distractions arose over past remarks made by mid-level aides. Even a benign back-to-school speech that Obama gave to students Tuesday became a vehicle for conservative activists to warn of presidential “indoctrination.”
Now wait just a damned minute.
First of all, there is nothing “false” about the argument that government-run health care — which is what a “public option” would inevitably lead to — will lead to rationing. Britain’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (bearing the Orwellian acronym “NICE”) provides an excellent example:
What NICE has become in practice is a rationing board. As health costs have exploded in Britain as in most developed countries, NICE has become the heavy that reduces spending by limiting the treatments that 61 million citizens are allowed to receive through the NHS. For example:
In March, NICE ruled against the use of two drugs, Lapatinib and Sutent, that prolong the life of those with certain forms of breast and stomach cancer. This followed on a 2008 ruling against drugs — including Sutent, which costs about $50,000 — that would help terminally ill kidney-cancer patients. After last year’s ruling, Peter Littlejohns, NICE’s clinical and public health director, noted that “there is a limited pot of money,” that the drugs were of “marginal benefit at quite often an extreme cost,” and the money might be better spent elsewhere.
. . . .
The NICE board even has a mathematical formula for doing so, based on a “quality adjusted life year.” While the guidelines are complex, NICE currently holds that, except in unusual cases, Britain cannot afford to spend more than about $22,000 to extend a life by six months. Why $22,000? It seems to be arbitrary, calculated mainly based on how much the government wants to spend on health care.
But any claim that government-run health care would lead to “death panels” is “false,” understand? At worst, you’ll get a panel that limits the amount of money available to extend your life. You see the difference, don’t you? You don’t? Then let me try to explain it again: shut up.
Second of all, the author of this article surely must know that the concerns about indoctrination did not flow from what was, ultimately, a “benign speech” — but rather from proposed lesson plans that required students to write letters about how they could “help the president.” Guess what? I don’t want to help the president as he destroys my country; I want to help my country — and I don’t want my kids told anything different.
Not once does this L.A. Times “analysis” mention the lesson plans.
Now let’s get back to these “mid-level aides.” That’s a reference to Van Jones, as the piece makes clear:
On Sunday, environmental advisor Van Jones resigned. He had been targeted by conservative talk show hosts, including Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, as a “radical” associate of Obama’s. Jones came under sharp criticism for coarse comments he had made about Republicans and for signing a petition questioning whether the U.S. government had a hand in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Ah, I see. He was “targeted” by the damn conservatives — and the word “radical” is put in quotation marks. The paper seems to be unclear on the fact that Jones actually declared that the government was behind 9/11, saying immediately after the attacks: “The bombs the government drops in Iraq are the bombs that blew up in New York City.” I guess the left no longer considers this a radical view, hence the scare quotes around the word.
As a collection of current liberal canards, today’s front-page piece is instructive. As “news analysis” it is considerably less successful, to say the least.